Boom2Bust.com

Signs Of The Time, Part 117

Any Survival And Prosperity readers use Facebook?

I originally signed up for the social media/networking service some years back with the intention of creating a “page” for my research/blogging.

I would create the additional page and populate it with material… and then it would magically be “reset” the next time I tried to access it (yes, I did select “save” when available).

Weird, huh?

So I gave up on that. And these days, I just use Facebook to stay abreast of what’s new with family, friends, and others.

But in recent times- coinciding with the 2016 campaign season heating up to be exact- I’ve been required to scroll down my “Home” page much more than usual to read posts about exotic travels, kids’ accomplishments, new pets, and other good stuff.

Why? Because the rest of that page is often heavily-populated by political posts “shared” or “liked” from my Facebook friends. Most aren’t very complimentary about President Trump and the Republicans, I might add (and not too surprising considering where I live).

But I’m not complaining, as my Facebook friends are entitled to post about their personal politics on their chosen social media platform.

As for me, I’m not too comfortable discussing politics with other people, save my girlfriend, who is a distant relative to an obscure former Senator from Wisconsin by the name of Joseph McCarthy and rather well-versed in government goings-on (being a former civil servant herself).

As individual politics vary so much and “anomalies” exist even among the political partisans (I’ve encountered a staunch defender of gun rights… who also happens to be a hardcore Democrat), I figure I’m bound to tick someone off with “deep conversation” about such matters. Which works well with running Survival And Prosperity, as it’s a project focused on financial/personal safety and not a “political blog.”

That being said, my decade-long track record (counting Boom2Bust.com) shows I don’t hesitate to assign blame- be it the Republicans or the Democrats- where blame is undoubtedly due and identification of the political party is central to the discussion at hand.

I’ll leave readers with this. Regarding all the animosity being directed against the Trump administration and the Republicans, while a good deal of it stems from ideological differences, personal dislike of the man, the fact that POTUS is a male, etcetera, keep in mind something that FOX 32 News (Chicago) political editor Mike Flannery pointed out while getting gassed at the Washington, D.C., riot on Inauguration Day:

Democrats currently hold fewer elected offices nationwide than at any time since the 1920s.

And what’s that old saying?

“Desperate times call for desperate measures”

“Desperate measures” will undoubtedly be taken to compensate for/attempt to regain that lost political power. That’s just how the politics “game” is played.

And the “resistance” will continue for the foreseeable future.

Even on Facebook, by the looks of things.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

2/13/17 UPDATE: Regrettably, one of my Facebook friends has now been “unfollowed” for clogging my “Home” page with political posts. Like I said above, they’re entitled to post about their personal politics on their chosen social media platform. But consider the ramifications of such activity on the recipient(s) of this material. In this case, the number of political posts being authored, “liked,” and “shared” made navigating Facebook a real chore. I held out as long as I could- didn’t want to miss important achievements/events in this person’s life shared via Facebook- but it was just too much in the end.

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Post Number 3,000

I’m back after a break for the holidays.

And I return to find we’ve reached post number 3,000.

3,000. Wow. That’s twice as many posts as were published within the blog’s predecessor- Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” which ran from Memorial Day weekend 2007 into 2010.

On November 22, 2010, I launched Survival And Prosperity with the following:

Welcome to my new weblog, Survival And Prosperity, “Protecting and Growing Self and Wealth in These Uncertain Times.” My name is Christopher Hill, and I’m the creator and Editor of this blog. Survival And Prosperity focuses on financial and personal safety in these tumultuous times we find ourselves living in…

Six years on and in even more “uncertain times,” the focus of the project remains unchanged:

“Financial and personal safety in these tumultuous times”

I elaborated on the “About” page one day before the blog’s roll-out:

Survival And Prosperity is unlike other financial blogs in that SP focuses simultaneously on finance and personal safety, two areas Christopher Hill has spent a lot of time researching these past couple of years and which are intertwined in any serious discussion about surviving and prospering in tumultuous times. Case in point, an individual might pursue a strategy of wealth preservation and growth that would pay off handsomely in a financial crash. Yet, if personal safety was ignored in the process, that same individual might end up a victim of the social turmoil that is sure to accompany the economic collapse. So much for that new-found wealth, right?

It is my hope that many of the over half-a-million unique visitors to Survival And Prosperity since its creation have taken something useful away from the “serious discussion.”

And as economic and societal uncertainty spills over into the new year- and foreseeable future- I will keep this project moving forward.

Thank you for joining me on the “ride.”

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Tuesday, December 27th, 2016 Housekeeping Comments Off on Post Number 3,000

Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Obama Taunts Republicans On Economy: ‘The Sky Hasn’t Fallen, Chicken Little Is Quiet’

Back when I was running this blog’s predecessor, Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” I remember coming across a number of infamous statements made prior to and during the Great Depression by leaders in government, finance, and industry of the day. For example, as Fox News cataloged back on October 26, 2009:

“We will not have any more crashes in our time.” – John Maynard Keynes (1927)

“There is no cause to worry. The high tide of prosperity will continue.” – Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury. (September 1929)

“There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash.” – Irving Fisher, Leading U.S. Economist, New York Times (Sept. 5, 1929)

“This crash is not going to have much effect on business.” – Arthur Reynolds, Chairman of Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago (October 24, 1929)

October 24, 1929, eventually became known in the history books as “Black Thursday,” when “the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 11% at the open in very heavy volume, precipitating the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression of the 1930s,” according to Investopedia.com.

Right before the weekend, the White House published a press release on their website containing a transcript of U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks Friday at the Democratic National Committee’s Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. From that document:

I just want everybody to remember that at every step as we made policies, as we made this progress, we were told by our good friends, the Republicans, that our actions would crush jobs, and explode deficits, and destroy the country. I mean, I want everybody to do a fact-check — (laughter) — and go back to 2009, 2010, ’11, ’12, ’13 — just go back and look at the statements that were made each year by these folks about all these policies. Because apparently they don’t remember. (Laughter.)

And now that their grand predictions of doom and gloom, and death panels and Armageddon haven’t come true — (laughter) — the sky hasn’t fallen, Chicken Little is quiet — (laughter)

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Something tells me this remark- akin to calling the outcome of a baseball game while it’s still in the early innings- will end up in the U.S. history books as well down the road, under that section entitled “Second Great Depression.”

“Let’s play two!” No thanks, Mr. Banks.

To be fair, President Obama isn’t entirely responsible for the coming financial crash. The actions of both sides of the political aisle through the decades have made the approaching “financial reckoning day” possible- and likely- in America.

You can read the complete transcript of President Obama’s speech on the White House website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“False Hope: Famous Quotes During the Great Depression.” FoxNews.com. 26 Oct. 2009. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/10/26/false-hope-famous-quotes-during-great-depression/). 22 Feb. 2015.

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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 Business, Deficits, Depression, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Government, Political Parties, Stocks, Wall Street Comments Off on Obama Taunts Republicans On Economy: ‘The Sky Hasn’t Fallen, Chicken Little Is Quiet’

The Economist Magazine Investigates Preppers

“Some Americans find survivalists sinister. After Adam Lanza shot 26 people in a school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, the media made much of the fact that his mother was a gun-stockpiling prepper. Yet there is no evidence that preppers in general are more dangerous than their compatriots. On the contrary, when natural disasters strike, it is useful to have neighbours who know how to stormproof a house and have bandages to spare.”

The Economist website, December 17, 2014

Late this morning, I stumbled on an article on The Economist website about preppers. I just finished reading “Preparing for the apocalypse: I will survive,” and thought I’d blog about it a little. The author (couldn’t find a name attached with the piece for some reason) did a pretty good job writing about preppers/survivalists, not falling victim to the usual stereotypes/generalizing echoed in a comment on the article. From “walrusandthecarpenter”:

Preppers are people who are unhappy with their life and can’t wait for the end of the world to come and the tables to turn. They are excited for it to happen.

Me? I like my smartphone. I have a first aid kit though.

“I like my smartphone.” What a goof.

Like I was saying, the author did a pretty good job (points deducted for trying to link those Westboro folks to preppers) with the material. I found what James Wesley, Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com-fame had to say particularly interesting. From the article:

So how might TEOTWAWKI come about? The biggest threat, says Mr Rawles, is a huge solar flare. The last big one, in 1859, known as the “Carrington Event”, disabled telegraph lines. A similar disaster today would “fry the circuitry” of electronic devices and take out the power grid “from end to end”. It would take years to reactivate. Perhaps 60% of the American population could die, predicts Mr Rawles…

I’ve seen some put that die-off figure at 90 percent.

There was also this about present-day preppers:

Survivalists vary politically—just as they are dispersed geographically—and their views colour their apocalyptic imaginings. Many are conservatives, worried about crime, terrorism and hyperinflation and sure that the state cannot be relied upon to protect ordinary citizens. But a fair number are environmentalists, convinced that the planet can only take so much abuse before it becomes uninhabitable. The movement is broad enough to encompass anyone who suspects that disaster is looming, for any reason. It used to be mostly “Bible-believing Christian conservatives”, says Mr Rawles, “But now we have a lot of alfalfa-munching Birkenstock-wearing leftists.” He adds: “The more the better.”

One more reason for me not to bash specific political ideologies/parties- except when they really ask for it, of course.

(Editor’s note: Any former readers of Boom2Bust.com out there remember when I used to savage “Dubya” and Hank Paulson? Thinking of that reminds me this giant economic mess belongs to both sides of the political aisle.)

Jason Charles, a New York firefighter of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here), is also featured in the piece.

You can read the well-written article in its entirety on The Economist website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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U.S. To Become Argentina After Financial Crash?

Of all the various threats to America today, there’s one that seems more likely to occur than the others and which I’m most concerned about.

So much so I decided to start blogging about it back on Memorial Day Weekend in 2007 as creator/editor of Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street”:

A U.S. financial crash.

And seven years on and trillions of dollars later spent trying to “kick the can down the road,” I feel it’s pretty much inevitable at this point.

Cheery thought, I know. But at least it’s not the end of the world.

Actually, I think we started on that journey even before the 2008 global economic crisis and “Great Recession” reared its ugly head and was eventually “papered-up” by Washington and the Federal Reserve.

So the U.S. economy won’t be doing a high-speed nose-dive into the ground. Rather, it’s embarked on a slow, gradual descent where the end result will be the same- a pile of smoldering wreckage.

If there’s a recent example in the world the United States might end up emulating, I suspect its Argentina, who suffered a financial collapse at the end of 2001 and which still is tormented by their crash.

Enter Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre, who regular readers of this blog might remember me mentioning before. I first brought up FerFAL on Survival And Prosperity within days of launching the blog. I wrote on December 1, 2010:

Last week I mentioned that I follow a couple of blogs on a regular basis. Surviving In Argentina is one of those and is authored by an Argentine named Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre who, like Orlov, has first-hand experience of what a financial collapse looks like. In his blog, Aguirre (who has lived in the U.S.) talks about how he and his young family survived the economic crisis in Argentina and how they’re coping now. It’s a rich source of information for surviving tough times, so much so FerFAL went ahead and wrote The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse in 2009.

Aguirre recently came out with two videos on YouTube.com in which he draws on his experiences in Argentina (he resides in the United Kingdom these days) to share with viewers what life was like after the vibrant Argentine economy collapsed last decade:


“Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part I”
YouTube Video


“Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part II”
YouTube Video

I understand FerFAL plans on releasing a third video to complete the series. In the meantime, I highly-recommend watching the first two to get an idea what life might be like if (when?) the United States suffers a similar fate as that South American country. Pretty sobering stuff if you ask me.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 Debt Crisis, Federal Reserve, Fiscal Policy, Government, Monetary Policy, Recession, South America Comments Off on U.S. To Become Argentina After Financial Crash?

Ignore The ‘Doomsayers’ At Your Own Peril

This weekend, I was surfing various news publications on the Internet when I came across a real interesting piece by Adam Davidson on the New York Times web site. Apparently, Davidson had the chance to interview Nouriel Roubini, the former Clinton administration Treasury official and NYU economics professor who is credited with predicting the 2008 global economic crisis, back in 2005. At that time, Dr. Roubini warned Davidson that the U.S. housing market was in a bubble that would pop and bring about a global economic recession, or even depression. What did Davidson do? From his February 1 piece:

I remember leaving his office both stunned and confused. Only after calling a few leading economists was I reassured that this Roubini guy was expressing a fringe view that merited little attention. Like a lot of reporters that year, I turned around a tongue-in-cheek story about Dr. Doom and his scary (but probably best ignored) world view. Oops!

Not surprising. The amount of ridicule that was directed at Roubini and the handful of other “doomsayers” around back then was significant. I should know- I received my share of it after my old blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” debuted on Memorial Day Weekend 2007.

But remember that quote by the American editor and novelist Charles Simmons:

Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool.

Consequently, there were- and still are- many fools roaming Wall Street, academic institutions, and elsewhere, which became all too readily apparent after the global financial crisis became full-blown in late 2008.

As for the “crash prophets?” Davidson revealed:

For nearly a decade, it turns out, the most accurate forecasts have come from the fringe.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“The most accurate forecasts have come from the fringe.”

That probably won’t be uttered in the financial mainstream media anytime soon.

But here’s the “really scary” thing, as Davidson might say. From the piece:

So it’s upsetting to learn that many of those same Cassandras now believe, for different reasons, that we are on the brink of another catastrophe that may be far worse.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Upsetting?” Probably not for regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and followers of the so-called “fringe.” They’ve been aware of such forecasts for a while now. And a number of these are well-underway with their preparations.

Question is, will the bears get “lucky” again? Davidson noted that President Obama and many “smart people” spent 2009 thinking these guys “had just been lucky.”

Just as I don’t readily-discard Pollyanna-ish predictions, my thoughts are, ignore the “doomsayers” at your own peril.

Source:

Davidson, Adam. “It Is Safe to Resume Ignoring the Prophets of Doom … Right?” NYTimes.com. 1 Feb. 2012. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/magazine/economic-doomsday-predictions.html?scp=1&sq=doomsayer&st=cse). 6 Feb. 2012.

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Crash Prophets, Recession Comments Off on Ignore The ‘Doomsayers’ At Your Own Peril
Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
"The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street"
(Memorial Day Weekend 2007-2010)

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